The action behind the scenes is always more interesting. The kickstarter campaign to create a new type of coworks continues. The public appearance is that of 1% funded. The backstage activity is appealing and encouraging; but, it is purposely backstage, I have no idea if it will walk out into the lights, and it may not have to. People are pledging, and some aren’t asking for rewards. After reading dismal newsfeeds all day, it is refreshing to hear from advocates, surprising to hear from people who want to help without expectation, and amazing to see the chords the idea strikes.
For those who are just hearing about this now, welcome to a Kickstarter campaign I launched to create a new kind of coworks. Others have preceded me, and I benefited from their creations. But, there are always lessons to learn, and hopefully good ideas can be improved to become even better ideas. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before – that sort of thing. If you want more details, browse back through the blog posts, or head to the official Kickstarter page, or contact me. Enthusiasts are knocking on each of those doors.
Rewards are part of crowdfunding campaigns. Pledge $100 and the campaign gets closer to its goal, and you get one of my books. Folks who contribute to PBS and NPR are probably familiar with the process. So, let’s keep in mind that one possibility that some folks are declining rewards is because they don’t want what I have offered, but they want the project to succeed. Let’s also keep in mind that some folks want to see all of the money go to the goal, no shipping charges required. Now that the campaign is launched, I might have the time to go back and add some more rewards that are more specific to coworks. Stay tuned.
Have you ever tried to get shop owners to put posters up in their windows? Whidbey’s a good place, if the poster fits the style of the place and the cause helps the community. I was surprised when I was asked to put together something to tape, or pin, or prop up for others to see. Here’s the first draft. You are welcome to print it and display it, and if you want a better copy, contact me.
I know people who work full-time making logos, graphics, and ad campaigns. Me, I like to take photos, and have some practice at making simple graphics; but the advice I’ve received has steered me to an update to the icon. The earlier version showed a partly charged battery. Adding a hint that it is being recharged works closer to the purpose of the coworks as a place to recharge your business, charge and charge again if you’re fortunate enough to have repeat customers and clients, and for the simple service that it is designed to be a place to recharge phones and laptops – especially, when the power is out. (That’s assuming enough is pledged to buy an appropriate generator or power supply.)
I don’t know if the campaign will succeed. You are a better judge of that because the crowd is in control of crowd funding. I have already received a benefit. It is sweet and touching to see and hear from people who share my passion. My passion is for people and ideas, and I enjoy bringing them together. I’m not the only one.
One of the most positive signs I’ve seen develop in the last few years is crowdfunding. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, are based on an idea that was nearly impossible before the Internet. Asking people for money has always been difficult. Taboos around personal finance are constraining even if no one else is part of the conversation. And yet, it is happening.
Giving money to people you don’t know in the hope they’ll use it the way you approve has always been a tough dynamic in charity and philanthropy. That’s one reason rewards are part of Kickstarter, perks are part of Indiegogo, and NPR hands out tote bags. Even if they don’t spend the money as you expected, at least you get a mug or a bag.
With the mass acceptance of the Internet and social media, the appeals are no longer limited to wine and cheese events reserved for targeted high net worth households. It is possible to fund almost anything: from museums, to art shows, to gadgets, to medical bills, to whatever. The money has always been there, but now appeals can be made to the people who appreciate the situations of people with ideas and needs but not enough money. Crowdfunding is working because teachers understand what classrooms need, artists appreciate the value of a seminar or specialized tool, gadget freaks can fund gadget inventors rather than waiting for mega-corporations to convene a committee and a focus group.
Friends, family, neighbors, and the beleaguered rich may have a difficult time helping; but within the billions of people connected electronically, if even 0.1% of the people on the Internet support an idea they are a crowd of 3,170,000. One dollar from 0.1% funds a multi-million dollar project. The goal for ReCharge Langley (the updated working title) is $18,000. It isn’t limited to that. Crowds frequently pledge far above the goals, enabling stretch goals and accelerating ideas and benefits. Let’s see, if everyone on the Internet pledged a penny they would raise $31,700,000. ReCharge doesn’t need that much, and would have to immediately begin paying forward which is part of the stated goal. Okay, that works for me. (And, oy, would I be busy!)
Of course I hope you pledge, whether you accept or decline the rewards. Of course I thank those people who have pledged to ReCharge Langley. I also thank everyone who has helped crowdfund the good works that are going on because the world needs good ideas, good ideas frequently need funding, and individuals building to a crowd are making the ideas flow and making the world a better place. That’s a reward we all share, no shipping required.